Community Support for OpenDocMan (Deprecated)

Full Version: Some initial probs
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2007-07-09 10:07:45 PDT
Hello, I just installed OpenDocMan 1.2.5 today.
Basically, I found the system refreshingly simple and straightforward. However there were some problems that would stop me from using it in anger in my company...

Some initial probs I noticed:
- Only the actual 'admin' user could see the Add User Defined Fields page - if 'admin' privelages were granted to another user, they still didn't see this stuff.
- I wanted to add a few User Defined Fields, but although it created underlying database tables for them all, only the first one was displayed on screen in the GUI.
- User Defined Fields could only be created with a "Pick List" type - other types such as free text would be useful
- When I checked a document out, and then went to check in a commented version, the file name had to be the same. This seemed an unusual way of working - I'd expect a commented draft to have its filename suffixed with the reviewer's initials, or have its version number incremented, etc.

2007-07-16 10:01:53 PDT
1) Only the site admin can add user defined fields; this was my design choice. There are certain things that can only be done by the site admin, and this seems to fall into this category. Purhaps ODM needs to support multiple site admins?

2) Can you explain what you did, and what page (URL) you are on when you have the problem?

3) UDFs have been enhanced since their first release. Pick List, Radio Buttons, and Generic Text are all supported now.

2007-07-18 18:00:23 PDT
I also started with a clean v1.2.5 install, and really like the simplicity of the UI.

1. It seems v1.2.5 does not have the enhanced UDFs features you mention. Were they added later? Are there other significant features implemented but not yet released? Can I update my v1.2.5 install from the SVN repository to try the new features? (I tried downloading only the /trunk from the SVN repository, but it didn't seem /trunk is supported for downloading. I then downloaded everything and used what seemed to be the most current branch, but after logging in I got an error message that indicated table changes in the db).

2. Along with Mr. Davis, I would also like to allow filename changes from check-out to check-in. I have found it necessary to REQUIRE users to rename files after making changes, particularly when circulating preliminary versions for review. It is often impossible practically to tell which version is which, and who has what version, if authors don't add a version suffix. I don't believe imposing the same filename is a rule that ODM must enforce, but perhaps a configuration variable could be used to a) require same filename, b) warn if filenames different, or c) allow different filenames. Would this fit with the philosophy for ODM or be difficult to implement?

3. Is it necessary to impose that only specified MIME type files can be uploaded? In my environment, MIME types are often not relevant and files can only be viewed or manipulated by their associated applications, and which may not be installed on all workstations. Is it possible to disable the MIME-type checking? It seems a work-around could be for users to create Zip-archives of their files, but this would impose an inconvenience on the user. Could leaving the allowedFileTypes variable null disable MIME-type checking?

4. (the complicated one) In some cases, it is convenient to treat multiple files as a single object for the purpose of checking-in, viewing, and checking-out. Example 1 - multiple files are necessary to create a electronic printed circuit board (pcb), including the native design file created by the pcb design software, various output files from the pcb sw app ("gerber" files), and a mechanical drawing created by a seperate software app. Example 2 - not everyone may have the necessary software app to view a file, or the training to use it, so it is often more convenient for authors to check-in both the native application file and a PDF-format equivalent (e.g., the design file for an electronic circuit design along with PDF-format schematics, or a 3D mechanical design model and a 2D PDF equivalent). One work-around would be to create and check-in a zip archive containing all the relevant files, but that would push extra work onto the author, prevent the individual files from being visible in the ODM user interface, and prevent the possibility for the user to download only the files necessary (IMHO, I would require that a check-out downloads ALL the files). Would this be difficult to implement given the current architecture of ODM?

Thanks for taking the initiative to create ODM. The user interface is great and I appreciate your philosophy of keeping things simple. I'm interested to hear whether you think these few suggestions don't go too far against that philosophy, in order to make ODM available to many more opportunities. If you think any of these changes would not be difficult, I might be able to help with the coding.


P.S. I'm using a Win2K server. In case anyone else is having problems with the login page not being shown after install, I found I had to replace the single backshashes in the dataDir reference with double backslashes (i.e., escape the backslash characters).

2007-07-19 06:41:36 PDT
Partial Doh! I synchronized a local sandbox with the SVN repository, copied the opendocman/branches/1.2 directory to /htdocs/opendocman-dev and then accesssed /htdocs/opendocman-dev/install to upgrade the db from v1.2.5 to current (presumably what will eventually be released as v1.2.6). All went well and no errors loggin in. However, I still did not see enhanced UDFs. What am I doing wrong?


2007-07-19 07:50:49 PDT
I would not suggest using SVN code to run ODM. The code can be non-functional at any given time.

The latest downloadable version has the UDF logic. Login as admin and go to the admin page.


2007-07-19 08:29:17 PDT
For more enhancements to the UDF code, see patch [1739854]

2007-07-19 08:53:45 PDT
(4) As you recognize, this is a complicated issue. ODM really does need to support something that could be used to establish relationships between documents. The work around, as you mentioned, is to use Zip files. I think this functionality would be difficult to implement, but you should add it as a feature request.

2007-07-19 15:57:03 PDT
Jonathan and Steven, thanks for your comments. I was going in circles thinking the "enhanced UDF" changes were available in v1.2.5. If I understand correctly, v1.2.5 has Pick List only, and Jonathan's patch adds a couple more (at least the other options didn't appear until after I applied the patches). Do I understand this correctly?

I found a posting of Jonathan's regarding MIME types on the Open Discussion forum. I think I have a similiar perspective in my point 3. If MIME types were not used, would it require all files to be downloaded before viewing (instead of opened in a new browser window)? I think that would be acceptable, especially if the user got a "download complete, now open?" popup.

Steven, do you have any comments on my other points?


P.S. Steven, I saw your note about Cracking the Vault in the release fileset. Wow, that takes me back. Thanks again for taking the initiative for developing such a great app (and to everyone else who has contributed!).

2007-07-20 05:39:02 PDT
Hi Dale -

My patch for modifiy the column output got mixed up with other patches for enhancing UDFs. I ended up just releasing one patch; not exactly what I wanted to do, but I wanted to get the changes out to the people who were interested in those functions.

Regarding MIME types... I'm no expert. From what I understand, it is a careful "dance" between the application, the webserver, and the user's browser. The application needs to identify the file type, the webserver needs to add the right HTTP headers, and the browser needs to launch the right application or plugin to handle the content. My feeling is that the application should rely on the system's mimetype definitions, but there may be users who don't have access to modify the system's mimetypes?
Who would have thought? By changing all the backslashes from \ to \\ in the datadir path, I was able to fix the datadir error ! Thanks for the help!